Rules are everywhere. Whether they are imposed on you by your parents, teachers, law enforcement, education systems, employers, or any number of other institutions that scatter the globe, they are out there, and there’s likely someone that’s not you making them. So what’s a person to do?
A while back Umair Haque wrote this on Twitter: “If you follow the rules, don’t expect to win.”
It might be an original quote or he might simply be echoing a sentiment shared by many, certainly by some who have failed in the past, and it’s certainly food for thought. Can you only win if you break the rules? Has anyone who has ever ‘made it’ in this world ever done so completely by the book?
Here’s my recommendation:
Play by the rules until you are in a position to change them – and then change them.
After that, there are no limits as to what you can accomplish.
Do you think Steve Jobs broke the rules and forged ahead guns a blazin’ to get Apple to the top? It might look that way to some folks, but the more likely scenario is that his path was more subtle. Patient. That is, right up until he was in a position to re-write some of those pesky rules that were standing in his way.
There will always be rules even if you work for yourself. Society seems to impose them whether we like it or not, whether it knows it or not. Playing by the rules, at least some of them, is important. It allows us to learn, to adapt, and to establish a greater sense of where and how we fit in, and more importantly, where we don’t. From there we can decide if it even matters.
Knowing what the rules are and how to play the game is critical if you ever want to do something about it. You may have noticed a couple of themes here: knowledge and action. Knowing who your opponent is, what the field of play is, what the rules are, and what strategy to use is absolutely key.
You can also possess every bit of knowledge you’ll ever need, but it’s absolutely useless if you don’t get off your butt and do something about it.